How to Choose Paint Sheen or Paint Finish

Paint comes in a wide variety of finishes, from dead flat to high gloss. Years ago, you would always paint trim or high-traffic areas with gloss paints because they offered better washability.

Walls & Ceilings

Walls and ceiling are generally painted with a flat, matte or eggshell finish.

Trim & Doors

For trim and doors, you can choose from pearl, satin, semi-gloss, or high gloss.

Kitchens, Laundry Rooms & Bathrooms

For kitchens, laundry rooms, or bathrooms, many people like to use a higher gloss finish.

Today, many super-premium products, such as Benjamin Moore’s Aura® paint, offer the same durability and washability in all sheens, so the selection of the finish is more of a personal preference.

TIP: The higher the gloss of your wall paint, the more it will show imperfections. If you own an older home in which the walls have been patched multiple times, or a home that has a lot of high walls with a lot of natural light, you may want to use a flat or matte paint. This is also true for the exterior of your home.

For best results, ALWAYS READ THE PAINT CAN LABEL. Professionals read the paint can labels to get the paint manufacturers’ most up-to-date information and instructions on the use of each specific paint. Every paint is different, and the labels provide important information, such as the average coverage area per gallon, drying times, number of coats needed, and surface preparation requirements. The labels also give specific safety information that should be carefully adhered to.